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 Post subject: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:56 am 
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I'm in the process of making my first whistle! It's aluminium with a pvc sleeve/cap... based on the kim fulton bennet copper pennywhistle guide but scaled up (its a low e because I'm weird, although i was also thinking about making an f pipe for the same fipple (this is a tangent but thoughts on this are also appreciated))

Anyway, i just finished the fipple and i was wondering what paints are safe to be putting in your mouth? I was thinking to paint it with enamel paints, what does anyone think?


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:46 am 
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I'd use acrylic paint that can also be used to paint childrens' toys. So I think if it's safe for toddlers to chew on, I guess it's safe to put on a whistle.


Last edited by Sedi on Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:54 pm 
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I too would like to know, and for aluminum and wood surfaces. Proper answers will show up from somebody.

For aluminum or prepared brass surfaces, to be put on the mouthpiece and/or around the tone holes(?), I'd want the most durable and non-reactive paint possible, so maybe an automotive paint, or one of the finer outdoors metal paints for bicycles or farm equipment, medical equipment or playground equipment, or a finish/sealer would have the strength? For wood there may be more options, as with oils, waxes, paints or lacquer options.

I'm only interested in paints for around the mouthpiece, to give them more durability over the years. I'd bet that some Putlic School Boards would have some maintenance staff that could offer some options.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:32 am 
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On a slight tangent, the fipple of this whistle (now an e minor whistle because i felt like it while i was drilling holes) sounded fine when i first made it. So i thought, great it works and filled some tiny spaces with glue to stop air escaping.. since then it sounded worse and was hard to reach the second octave notes... and now today after just being sat around overnight i can't reach the second octave at all! Which is weird because i could yesterday... i haven't yet found a thread of troubleshooting whistle making problems but if there is one cam someone direct me there? I might just have to make a whole new fipple but I'd like to know if it is retrievable...


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:11 pm 
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Nuffleooli wrote:
Anyway, i just finished the fipple and i was wondering what paints are safe to be putting in your mouth? I was thinking to paint it with enamel paints, what does anyone think?

Why would you paint it?

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:39 am 
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I've actually given up on that one and made two more much nicer copper whistles now, but i wanted to paint it because it was aluminium and alumium is a bit gross. By gross i mean harmful to your health. Also because i was following instructions that said put epoxy over the wood at the mouthpiece end.. it tasted weird and i wasn't keen. I don't think I'll do that in future.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:32 pm 
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Nuffleooli wrote:
I've actually given up on that one and made two more much nicer copper whistles now, but i wanted to paint it because it was aluminium and alumium is a bit gross. By gross i mean harmful to your health.

FWIW, pretty much every metal poses health risks. Some - pure gold, for example - are far less risky than others, but in that case it depends on the individual. For my part I am more inclined to be leery of copper than aluminum, whose deleterious health effects are a matter of some disagreement. If a whistle tube is of aluminum, handling alone appears to be of little risk at all. As to aluminum cookware, present scientific consensus appears to be that it's not an issue as was once feared. That said, I don't cook with it myself, but I'm a steel, iron, and tempered glass kind of guy. Copper cookware, though, is lined for good reason - primarily because of its reactivity, but copper is also toxic with enough of the right exposure; it's well known for being antimicrobial. Copper pennies in an aquarium are known to kill fish over time, although there appears to be little risk with whipping egg whites in an unlined copper bowl. Again, it's a time thing.

For those of you interested in copper cookware, the lining material can vary. Silver is probably best, and there's tin, but I would steer clear of nickel, which is actually much more toxic than copper. I have an old eyeglass case from around 1910 made of nickel silver (also called German silver or alpaca - a nickel-copper alloy, no real silver involved) and it makes my fingers start to burn if I hold it longer than a few moments.

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:14 pm 
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Interesting about the nickel silver. (Sounds like you are allergic to nickel, which is not uncommon). Many boehm flutes and even some whistles are made out of it. I never had a problem. One of my favorite whistles is actually made from nickel silver.
When I started making whistles I read a lot about the different materials, and from what I have read, brass is a good choice but it needs to be lead-free. To my knowledge, brass made in the EU (and probably sold) needs to be lead-free. But the taste is not nice when playing for longer times on a pure brass whistle. Aluminium also contains small amounts of lead to make it easier to work with. But AFAIK there is a layer of oxide forming on the aluminium, which is thin but rather hard, on anodized aluminium this layer is just thicker and made with an electrical process. I am not really sure however, how resistant that layer really is, when for example scratching it with your teeth, while playing an aluminum mouthpiece. I wonder what the most health-risk-free material even is. Probably some kind of plastic. But the consensus at the moment for aluminium seems to be, in relation to dementia, that the aluminum plaques in the brain are there because you have dementia, not the other way round. And I wonder how hard one would have to suck on an aluminum whistle to ingest enough so it might be harmful, it does accumulate in the body though. A nice material would be stainless steel (the type that spoons are often made of). I made a whistle (in fact two but one was not in tune) from it, but the mouthpiece cover is still anodized aluminum. But that was just because I couldn't find the right sized piece of steel. Also sounds great btw. But too hard to work with in the long run. A whistle made from it would have to be quite expensive to compensate for the time it takes to make. I guess that is why nobody routinely makes them.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:10 pm 
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Sedi wrote:
Interesting about the nickel silver. (Sounds like you are allergic to nickel, which is not uncommon). Many boehm flutes and even some whistles are made out of it. I never had a problem. One of my favorite whistles is actually made from nickel silver.

Cheap jewelry made from nickel silver has a reputation for causing skin reactions. I don't know if this is usually built up over time, much as with blackwood allergy (which I also have), but my skin never liked nickel from the start, so I probably wouldn't do well with nickel silver instruments.

Sedi wrote:
Aluminium also contains small amounts of lead to make it easier to work with.

Whoa, there. That set me on a search. Most of it's a bit hard to understand, but from what I see there are only two aluminum alloys, 1060 and 6262, that purposely contain any lead. The 1060 link omits mention of lead, but it's in this Wikipedia article, past halfway down the page. Given the discrepancy of the two articles, I don't quite know what to believe. There's some buzz out there about lead being added to aluminum cookware in some developing countries - an industrially nonstandard application and a point of concern, it seems - so is that maybe what you had in mind?

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:58 am 
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It was just an info from my stepbrother, who is a metal worker.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:47 am 
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Sedi wrote:
It was just an info from my stepbrother, who is a metal worker.

Well, the possibility of lead is something to keep in mind, isn't it.

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle paints?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:19 pm 
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I can second the notion that nickel used as a surface metal is to be avoided. When I was just starting out on flute, a nickel flute was found at one point. I'd already heard that some people were getting an unfavorable response to touching it, and soon after I found the skin on my lower lip and on one thumb was irritated and the flute headjoint had an odor when warm I really didn't like. I cleaned it daily, so it wasn't any buildup of saliva going on. The nickel flute was dispensed with within a couple weeks.

I'd recommend being very careful if you buy any instrument that's essentially nickel, and silver plated. Be sure there is plenty of the silver remaining if it's used.

For whistles, I've primarily used brass, wood and aluminum. My interest in coating the exterior end of the mouthpiece, is to protect that area from the damage from prolonged exposure to saliva, humidity and abrasion from teeth. I had a very nice Sweetheart whistle of pure rosewood, and as great as the tone and playability of the whistle was, rosewood exposed regularly to saliva, heat and mild abrasion from teeth, soon starts wearing it, and threatening the integrity of the windway. It would not alter the tone to coat the last 2.0 centimeters of whistle mouthpiece with some protecting coating.

I'm well aware of the health risks of consuming aluminum, but I don't think that applies to whistles. It's certainly not a nutrient and it's very difficult for your body to get rid of it. But it's not an irritant on the surface of your skin like nickel is, and it's a fairy tough metal. It's not going to be absorbed through your fingers. The non-abrasive room-temperature exposure to the mouthpieces I can't see being a "source" of ingested aluminum. The problem source of aluminum is going to be in using pots, pans and tools for cooking, made of aluminum, where the temperature is high, the great mix of active chemical compounds used is high and the abrasion level from cooking utentils is high, followed by cleaning which keeps the surfaces scrubbed raw. So I'd highly advise getting rid of aluminum cooking equipment, and I'd not want to be visiting restaurants that still rely on aluminum pots, pans and utensils. Aluminum handles are OK, but not the pot, pan or any tool end.

But the smooth hard aluminum whistles are basically not giving out aluminum to ingest, so I'm not concerned with that.


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